I've tinkered with my UI for several years, and included an evolution timeline picture, if you're interested.
My main is a mage, so the UI tends to lean towards the mage, but I have tanked and healed in the past with the UI.
Add-ons of note:
1) Sexymap. I try to put together my own decorations for the minimap, including making a different one for every alt that reflects their class. I've also used it's ability to move the "Mover" ui elements around.
2) Bartender. The 7 most used abilities of any rotation go in the large middle row. I have the rest of the number bar and the ` Q and E keys mapped onto the bottom row. The top row typically contains AoE and defense abilities, although that changes by need and ease to reach from the WASD. Other utility abilities hang out on the side bar. Armor, stance, presence, form, etc. take up a tab above the ability keys. The buttons along the bottom right hand side are actually always hidden unless you mouse over them, but I had to turn them on for the screenshot.
3) KGPanels. I used to just have the buttons floating without a background, but found that they blocked the view anyway and it was easier on the eyes to have a panel behind them.
4) Stuf. I don't think this addon is actually updated anymore and I'm currently using a fan update. I love the sheer amount of customizability of the addon and will be really sad if it ever stops working.
5) WeakAuras. This is the bread and butter of my UI. Everything else is built around it. I don't process bar timers or counters very quickly or well. At all. Weakauras lets me make big, visual cues that I can make more and more flashy until I'm forced to notice them. It's also the reason for the gap between the buttons: I can place auras behind them and have them show up where I'm already looking. In my combat image we can see Fingers of Frost procs around the main bars, Nether Tempest up on the enemy frame, an icon letting me know my Elemental's Freeze is ready, and a counter for Ice Barrier.
6) Gnosis. Castbar addon. I like the visual customizations here.
8) Tidy Plates. I use the nameplates usually to track debuffs on enemies I'm not targeting. I also like the smooth look of it.
9) Skada. Tucked it into the corner so I don't stare at it.
10) SLDT. Miscellaneous information tracker. Once again, like this one for the visual customization.
11) SBF. Buff organizer. Mostly just use the ability to move buffs around the screen.
Ease of use, the golden rule for the UI. I love Weakauras and Powerauras. I can make snap responses due to having notifications that I don't even have to decipher. I keep the fonts larger all a large size, because otherwise my eye just glosses over them. Pet Battles show up without any overlap or interference.
I really don't like how much room the Blizzard raid frames take up, but Grid has always been a large hassle for me to configure. Especially because I will nit pick and nudge things around for hours. I haven't healed in a long time and will probably have to dive back into Grid before I do. I also don't like being unable to right click and remove buffs with SBF. I've tried toying with it's options to make that work, but have been unsuccessful. The buff icons will either be glitchy or disappear entirely.
Many, many bonus points are awarded to Tinala for being a baby panda in the raid combat image
! If you want to be a baby panda
, you just need to find one to /love. Notable, also, is the reshuffling of the UI elements, making this UI very similar to Slim's of last week. Perhaps I was too hasty in thinking this layout was unusual!
I really enjoy Tinala's UI evolution timeline
, it's great to see how the UI has changed over time, and I'm really pleased to see that, despite a brief flirtation with my least favorite thing in UIs, the black bar of doom, back on September 14, Tinala saw sense and reverted to see-through areas at the bottom of the UI. And looking at the screenshot after that, November 11, I can really see why Tinala relocated the DPS meter up to the top. It was getting very crowded and busy down there.
I really like the Stuf unit frames
Tinala's using, they're good-looking, and a pleasant departure from the standard look. Tinala didn't think they were being updated any more, but it seems like they might be, although not regularly, so use with caution. Tinala's making great use of the incredibly powerful addon that is weakauras to set up neat little notifiers for various spells and cooldowns. As they note in the email above, not everyone responds well to timer bars and numerical displays, sometimes it's better just to have an icon appear when an ability is ready. WeakAuras is a fantastic addon for this sort of thing, and Tinala's done a sterling job of setting it up to display things in various different manners, as detailed in the email above.
I also really like the minimap surrounds. Having been critical in the past of the Sexymap standard issue glowy blue rings, I didn't think I would when I read the email, but those surrounds look great, especially when coupled with Tinala's various mage spec changes on the UI timeline. Great work there! The little clock at the bottom is also very neat, even if it doesn't tie in perfectly looks-wise with some of the other elements.
And lastly, a very big gold star to Tinala for the hidden bars! Hidden bars are a good thing.
While I praised Tinala for the hidden bars, I am not sure what I think of the out-of-combat bar positioning. Having the XP or reputation bar and the other, more functional buttons off to the left is a nice idea, but I think the asymmetry would drive me bonkers. That's my problem, though! I do completely agree with Tinala's complaints about the raid frames, despite being a fan of the standard Blizzard ones, they do seem to be taking up a lot of space on Tinala's screen. As Tinala's not playing a character with a battle rez, maybe it's not necessary to have more than the healers and the tanks visible? Hard to say, really, but I don't think having the tank frames switched on is helping.
The weekly "Noooooo" doesn't get a picture this week, because it's the mixed fonts in the UI. Fonts are a pain to make uniform, hence why people will often go for a font that's shared over several addons. There are other ways, though, one of which is to change the fonts in an addon's files. Say your addon has a font it uses that's called "graffiti". You don't like this font, and want to use one called "progress" that's in another addon. Grab the ttf file for "progress", copy paste it into the font folder of that other addon, and name it "graffiti". A bit of a strange method, sure, but you now have the font you wanted, just under another name! Addons like BetterFont
can help with this too.
Interested in getting the most out of your user interface? Come back once a week for more examples of reader UIs. For more details on individual addons, check out Addon Spotlight, or visit Addons 101 for help getting started.